or bon·nie

See more synonyms for bonny on
adjective, bon·ni·er, bon·ni·est.
  1. Chiefly Scot. pleasing to the eye; handsome; pretty.
  2. British Dialect.
    1. (of people) healthy, sweet, and lively.
    2. (of places) placid; tranquil.
    3. pleasing; agreeable; good.
  1. British Dialect. pleasingly; agreeably; very well.
  1. Scot. and North England Archaic. a pretty girl or young woman.

Origin of bonny

1425–75; late Middle English (Scots) bonie, perhaps < Old French bon good + -ie -y1, perhaps by analogy with jolie jolly
Related formsbon·ni·ly, adverbbon·ni·ness, noun


or Bon·ny

  1. a female given name: from the Latin word meaning “good.” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bonny

Contemporary Examples of bonny

  • Bonny Island in Nigeria and St. Michael's in Maryland had much in common in colonial times.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Nigeria's Hunt for Dick Cheney

    Pratap Chatterjee

    December 4, 2010

Historical Examples of bonny

  • Here be lilies in the cheeks, and not roses such as befit a bonny bride.

  • Naething but a bonny wee bairnie, whause mither has tint it!

    Salted With Fire

    George MacDonald

  • It's no possible he's ever seen the bonny man as I hae seen him!'

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

  • The earth-house had no longer any attraction for Steenie: the bonny man was not there; he was risen!

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

  • And a scraichin fear grippit me, 'at I was turnin fause to the bonny man.

    Heather and Snow

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for bonny


adjective -nier or -niest
  1. Scot and Northern English dialect beautiful or handsomea bonny lass
  2. merry or livelya bonny family
  3. good or finea bonny house
  4. (esp of babies) plump
  5. Scot and Northern English dialect considerable; to be reckoned withcost a bonny penny
  1. informal agreeably or wellto speak bonny
Derived Formsbonnily, adverb

Word Origin for bonny

C15: of uncertain origin; perhaps from Old French bon good, from Latin bonus


  1. Bight of Bonny a wide bay at the E end of the Gulf of Guinea off the coasts of Nigeria and CameroonFormer name (until 1975): Bight of Biafra
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bonny

1540s, of unknown origin, apparently from Old French bon, bone "good" (see bon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper